Helloooo! Welcome to this week’s edition of Boozy Books! This week I’m reading Cat’s Cradle by the incomparable Kurt Vonnegut. It’s really good and even though I’m only about halfway through, I’d like to pair it and suggest you pick up a copy to enjoy at your leisure.
Cat’s Cradle is a masterwork of satire featuring many of the themes Vonnegut is famous for: free will, man’s relation to – and dependence on – and misuse of – technology, and a disconnect between people. Vonnegut’s creation of a fictional religion (Bokononism) based on absurd Calypso songs and believing in comforting lies and the inevitability of every terrible possibility, is an inspired commentary on humanity’s need to place blame and shirk responsibility. The backdrop of exploring the invention, and use, of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is a thinly veiled warning about man’s disinterest in people and obsession with destruction. Seeing as the novel was written around the time of the Cold War, Vonnegut’s story also becomes a cautionary tale about the dangers of nuclear destruction.
Jonah (John) is the narrator of Cat’s Cradle. He is a Bokononist and a writer, interested in tracing the steps of the atomic bomb’s invention and deployment. He plans to write a book in the subject, but through a course of events that lead him off track he determines he was not meant to write that story. The failed pursuit of that story, however, leads him to Bokononism and members of his karass (a group of people linked for a cosmic purpose).
The meandering plot of Cat’s Cradle is pretty fantastic in its progress to bringing John to the island of San Lorenzo. Here is where (I imagine) things will take a turn for the (probably) worse as he gets closer and closer to the mysterious ice-nine. Ice-nine being a dangerous invention of the “father of the atomic bomb”, Felix Hoenikker.
Anyway, this is just about where I’ve left off. I’ll be finishing up this weekend with a glass of white sangria. Don’t ask me why, but this drink just seems appropriate for Cat’s Cradle. It’s an unexpected choice, certainly less popular than red sangria, and is a refreshingly silly drink that strikes me as its own satire of humanity. And it tastes good. There’s also that.
Enjoy yourselves, fellow humans! And may you find your next wampeter in the pages of a good book!